In-house coffee shop to be installed at Central for 2023-24 school year


Jake Pfeiffer

The space once occupied by Central’s school store is set to be occupied by the coffee shop after its installation. The space is located near door 7, in the corner of Central’s cafeteria.

Jay Deegan, Editorial Editor

Naperville Central will be home to a new in-house coffee shop in the 2023-24 school year thanks to collaboration between Central’s administration and OrganicLife, District 203’s new food service provider.

The shop will be located where Central’s school store once was, near the edge of the cafeteria by door 7.

“We haven’t used the school store since COVID,” said Principal Jackie Thornton. “Before COVID, it was used very sparingly. Its access to the kitchen is also beneficial.”

Central’s administration was originally considering the front entrance of Central as a possible location for a shop, but was deterred by the lack of water access available.

The coffee shop will follow USDA federal guidelines, Thornton said.

OrganicLife took over food service starting the 2023-24 school year from Aramark. The change was approved during the planning process for the shop.

“When Aramark was the food service and we were partnering with them, they had great ideas for how we were going to stay within guidelines and still be able to offer options for students that they thought would be found appealing,” Thornton said.

Naperville North already has their own coffee shop, the Half Caf. Central’s shop will be different, as North’s is run by students and teachers, while Central’s will be managed by OrganicLife.

“One of the most important parts to me in this was the partnership with our special education department and offering vocational opportunities for students who need them,” Thornton said. “We had that plan worked out with Aramark and we have to start over with OrganicLife.”

The coffee shop could form possible partnerships with classes, such as a real life marketing example for business classes at Central, Thornton said.

Central already has a small coffee station with minimal options and customizations in their lunch line. The school hopes to include additional types of beverages in the new shop. 

“I’d like [a coffee shop] if they added more options and different flavors,” said Naz Almimorry, a sophomore at Central.

A coffee shop may be a welcome change for many Central students and staff members, who the Central Times estimated spend a combined $34,221 per week on morning drinks. That estimate was based on a CT survey of 364 respondents.

“Often in the morning, I stand by door 8 and 1000s of dollars of Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts walks in the door every morning,” Thornton said. “So will [an in-house coffee shop] mean that some students are still going to Starbucks and Dunkin? Yes, but I hope it will be a more convenient option for students, [in] a space that we aren’t taking advantage of right now.”

CJ Getting contributed to this story.